Prestbury Hill, Gloucestershire

Prestbury Hill, Gloucestershire

Species to look out for

This reserve has two areas of limestone grassland, high on the Cotswold scarp slope, East of Cheltenham. There are marvellous views across the Severn Vale and beyond

Notable flowers

  • Musk Orchid
  • Bee Orchid


The reserve has a very rich mix of limestone and neutral grassland types, with small areas of heath where thin deposits of ancient windblown sands overlie the Oolitic limestone. The southern half of the reserve, known as the Bill Smyllie Reserve, extends southwards as a narrow valley containing thickets of scrub. It is separated by a beech plantation from the northern half of the reserve, known as the Masts Field, which is within the Cleeve Common Site of Special Scientific Interest. Area: 31 hectares (77 acres)


Grid Reference: SO 992 242 (southern half); SO 992 248 (northern half) Ordnance Survey map: 163

From the A40 east of Cheltenham turn off into Whittington village. Turn west at the T-junction, then north-west just past Whalley Farm and follow the road northwards. The minor “no-through road” to the communications masts on the southern edge of Cleeve Common gives access to both areas of the reserve.

Public transport

Take the bus from Cheltenham town centre to Prestbury. There is then a 2km (uphill!) walk up a bridleway. Cheltenham town centre can be accessed by bus from Cheltenham railway station.

Access and safety

Entrances and parking at SO 993 244 and SO 994 247. All parts of the reserve are Open Access land and various footpaths and bridleways cross the site. The Cotswold Way also provides access to the Masts Field and crosses the Bill Smyllie reserve. Please take care on the steep slopes.


Ron Hatton - tel: 01242 673 923


Prestbury Hill leaflet